Thank God I’m Saved

April 9, 2013

From a sermon given by Dr. Kevin Dudley, Sr. Pastor -April 7, 2013

Isaiah 61:10-11

The understanding of salvation and what it really means to be “saved” is a tough concept to fully grasp. I believe that often times we look at salvation in either too simple or too complex a point of view. Through the Sunday morning pre-service Bible Study Pastor Dudley explores the deeper meaning of salvation but on Sunday, April 7th, he simplified it in a very witty and common sense way by reminding us that if all God intended through the sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus Christ, was for us to be able to get into Heaven, he would have killed us right after we were saved.  There is more to salvation and thus all the more reason we should celebrate the resurrection of Christ and be glad that we had a savior who conquered the cross. Our Savior lives! And because Jesus is alive in each of us we are a new creation not held by our sin. In saving us from our sin, God is allowing our lives to be a tool by which we should bring Him glory. Our problems, our worries, our failures and ultimately our triumphs are all a testimony in the making. I look at my own life and where I am now compared to where I was and while I know I have a long, long…long way to go, I give God glory and praise for bringing me this far. And I pray that the changes in me can be an inspiration to someone else while allowing them to be a daily inspiration to myself. As human beings we often get caught up in the trivial day to day problems that life brings along and forget that God intends for us to live large!  The resurrection did not happen so that we could live small lives. A risen Savior and a small life don’t fit together when you really think about it, but how many of us are guilty of living this way?

Pastor Dudley posed two questions for us to consider if we want to live large as God intended. First, when thinking about the resurrection we should ask what difference does it make?  The resurrection is real, but how does it affect our lives daily? I think about the song by Mary Mary, Heaven. There’s a line that says, “Can you picture a place where there’s a smile on every face and all the worry, all the stressing, all the pressure’s been erased?” Doesn’t that sound glorious! I venture to say that that place is right where we are now! At least it can be thanks to the blood of Christ. In verse 10 of the selected reading, Isaiah paints a picture for us of what we can expect in heaven, only he speaks in present tense. I was an English major so I was crazy confused during the first part of worship service I must admit. As Pastor Dudley began his sermon I thought to myself, “what does heaven and the afterlife (if you will) have to do with what we just read? Whatever Isaiah was talking about was happening at that present time.” This a reason for me to laugh at myself. DUH! That’s the point God was making though Isaiah! The then…the later, the afterlife, it makes a difference in our right now! He HAS clothed me with garments; He HAS covered me with the robe. When Christ laid his life down for us, he DID put a smile on every face. All of the worry, all of the stressing, all of the pressure HAS been erased. Because our Savior is alive today we have the right to live like it. And it is in living like it, that we bring glory to His name as described in verse 11: “So the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all nations.” –NKJV.

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After thinking on Pastor’s first question, I began to think to myself, what does it look like to live now, as if Heaven then makes a difference? Before I could work through my self-inflicted confusion, we were asked to consider what will we do with it? God created us with the intention of us bearing great things that will bring Him glory. He gave us a life with a purpose and room to grow.  Verse 11 begins by saying, “For as the earth brings forth its bud, as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth.” God created the land under our feet with a purpose, with seed that brings forth growth, and He has done the same thing in each of us. He entrusted life to us, that we discover along the way, we don’t know how to manage. A part of my job is to maintain several in-store live electronic displays. On my first few maintenance calls, I decided it was a good idea for me to wing it. I had worked in electronics for some time but had never done this type of work specifically before. So of course, I got it wrong. After my third misdiagnosis and failed repair attempt I decided that I needed to review the training materials I had received. After looking over the computer based training, there were still some areas I was unsure of so I emailed the person at Home Office who is responsible for and knowledgeable about these in store displays. I didn’t know what I was doing to I went to the written instruction manual. I found that I still had questions so I consulted the person who is the expert. In the same way using a his own personal scenario, Pastor Dudley reminded us that we don’t know what we’re doing when it comes to this think called life so we must consult The Expert. God has planted a seed in each one of us, and along the way we will learn, but we can’t forget that God is the Planter and thus in control. As we grow He will bestow us with blessings to feed our spirit and further encourage our growth; He will work inside of us to get rid of the evil that tries to creep up on our growth and destroy us.

As Christians, I like to think we are privileged because we know that the resurrection is real. I remember in college, my Religion and America professor Michael Mims made a statement on the first day of class that forever altered everything I knew to be true about religion and faith. He said: I don’t believe in God. I don’t believe that Jesus died on the cross and I don’t believe he rose three days later –I know it. I know it like I know the sky is blue, the grass is green and Michigan sucks. I know it because it’s real, it happened, it’s a fact. Not a belief.” It is a fact that we have received salvation and we should be mindful to thank God that we are saved every second and every minute. So what difference does it make? We can live large the way God intended. And what will we do with it? We can rejoice that God has planted a seed in us and will guard and protect us as we grow and move through life in His name. Isaiah began verse 10 where Pastor Dudley ended on Sunday, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God…”

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